American Indian Organization Helps Western Orangeburg County Get Food

Imagine living in a large, rural area that only has one grocery store. Add COVID-19, social distancing, school closings, and increased unemployment to that scenario. Do you think you would have a tough time finding food to feed your family? About 24,000 people in western Orangeburg County did, and they continue to struggle to find healthy food.

The Pine Hill Indian Community Development Initiative (PHICDI) stepped in to provide healthy food to more than just their American Indian population. They help all families in need, and they continue to do that to this day. Eat Smart Move More South Carolina awarded PHICDI a mini-grant for food distribution supplies that supplemented their existing food distribution events.

“Our ongoing COVID-19 emergency food distribution began May 8 on alternating weeks through September 4th. Each food distribution reached approximately 300 people,” said Michelle Mitchum, Chief of Pine Hill Indian Tribe.

Funds were used to purchase bags for the food distributions and assembly equipment to increase the efficiency of distribution preparations. Existing partners and community volunteers assisted with event preparation and food distributions.

PHICDI’s mission is to rejuvenate western Orangeburg county through developing programs that create and balance food security, access to healthcare, educational success, create jobs, preserve history, and celebrate the rich heritage represented in the area. To learn more about the Pine Hill Indian Community Development Initiative, visit their website or Facebook page.